French drivers have been slow to see the advantages of dash cams – only 35,000 use them – but insurers have also been slow to give incentives.
However, some are doing so, with L’olivier, the French online subsidiary of UK Admiral Group, running a 10% discount deal at the end of last year and another online firm, AcommeAssure, offering 15% off until April.
L’olivier marketing director Magali Heberard says they are assessing the experiment but might bring in another offer, possibly with bigger discounts, as they think it is a win-win for both the insurance company and the driver.
She said: “Studies in other countries have shown people drive better with a dash cam.
“They feel protected because if there is an accident which is not their fault, they will have film to prove it. It seems that if people know they are being filmed, they will drive better.”
Dash cams, called caméras embarquées in France, were first used in Russia to give proof against legal corruption.
Spectacular footage of a meteor falling to earth taken from several cars publicised them worldwide – and today more than three million UK drivers use one.
They are mounted on the windscreen and film the road ahead, recording the journey.
They start filming automatically if there is a shock to the car.
It means that if someone cuts in front of you and causes an accident, you will have proof.
Motoring specialist lawyer Rémy Josseaume is convinced they will soon be widely used.
“They are a good idea. I have one and find I drive better, because I know I am being filmed,” he said.
“In penal cases, you can use any means to defend yourself and if you are fined for passing a red light, you can show the video as proof it was green.”
He said accidents were more difficult as they are governed by civil courts and a video is not seen as absolute proof.
It can be challenged, with the other driver saying it had been altered or that pictures were taken without permission.
“There is no legal status for dash cams but their use can lead to improved driving and fewer accidents.”